Antioxidants in Healthy Foods

Antioxidants in Healthy Foods

Everyone knows a major aspect of healthy living is the consumption of healthy food. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is key to maintain healthy organs and help prevent chronic disease. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?

Nutrient dense antioxidant foods are particularly beneficial. Fruit, vegetables and grains are packed with antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, as well as a host of phytonutrients and vitamin cofactors you may not know about. Phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are plant-derived healthy nutrients. Plants produce these substances to protect themselves from disease, and extensive studies have shown positive effects of phytonutrients on human health.

Two primary types of phytonutrient antioxidants are carotenoids and flavenoids, both available in a wide range of plant foods. Carotenoid terpenoids stimulate the production of vitamin A in the body. Some important carotenoids include

* Astaxanthan anti-inflammatory substance concentrated in algae, salmon, lobster and shrimp
* Lutein helps prevent macular degeneration and found primarily in spinach and kale
* Lycopene major component of human blood and tissues the best sources are tomatoes and red produce

Flavenoid polyphenolics are another category of antioxidant phytonutrient abundant in many forms. These compounds are anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic in other words, they may ease symptoms of arthritis and cellular damage and help prevent cancer. To name a few known flavenoids

* Isoflavone an estrogen-producing substance found primarily in soybeans
* Hesperetin most abundant in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, and aids in vitamin C absorption
* Catechin antimicrobial phytonutrient found primarily in green tea that may increase metabolism

The easiest way to ensure complete intake of antioxidants is to eat different colors of healthy foods every day! Produce in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple colors, along with whole grains and nuts, will supply plenty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients for optimal health.

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